LONDON’S BEST OUTDOOR POOLS
An outdoor swimming pool is the only place to be during hot city summers and luckily London is full of them. Here’s our pick of the best swimming pools in your local neighbourhoods, from Tooting to Hampstead
1 The Berkeley, Knightsbridge
The Berkeley’s stylish outdoor pool with its views across Hyde Park has always been a popular place for soaking up the sun and generally relaxing. The rooftop pool also has a wonderful spa attached to it, and there’s a very tempting ‘light bites’ menu. The Berkeley’s suntrap gets very busy so be sure to book ahead. A day pass costs £150, or half a day’s membership costs £45 for non-guests.
Wilton Place, London, SW1X 7RL; 020 7201 1699; the-berkeley.co.uk
2 Charlton Lido, Charlton
The newly-refurbished Charlton Lido has 50-metre heated outdoor pool that includes a sun terrace and café with views over the park. Non-members must by tickets to the pool in advance, they cost £5 for adults and £3 for children.
Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, London, SE18 4LX; 020 8856 7389; better.org.uk/leisure/charlton-lido
3 Pools on the Park Richmond
Richmond 33m outdoor pool is open from around 3 April to the 30 September every year, depending on the weather and is kept at a toasty 24C. Pools on the Park’s outdoor swimming pool is part of a bigger sports complex that includes an indoor pool and a café, gym, sauna and steam room.
Pools on the Park, Old Deer Park, Richmond, Surrey TW9 2SF; 020 8940 0561; springhealth.net
4 Hampton Pool, Hampton
Whatever the weather Hampton Pool is open, the heated swimming pool is situated within two-acres of woodland in Bushy Park. The main pool is 36m long but there’s also a children’s pool, both have disabled access via a chair hoist for those with special needs. There’s also a sauna and Sun Deck Café, and Hampton Pool hosts water aerobics classes. Prices for entry start from £3.05 for children off peak and £4.90 for adults.
High Street, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 2ST; 020 8255 1116; hamptonpool.co.uk
5 Hampstead Heath Pools, Hampstead Heath
Possibly the best-known of London’s outdoor swimming pools, the natural swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath are like a scene out of an Evelyn Waugh novel come summer, with Londoners frolicking on the banks, splashing in the water and doing serious triathlon training. If you don’t fancy the natural waters, there is also Parliament Hill Lido – but be warned, all are un-heated.
Gordon House Road, London NW5 1QR; 020 7485 5757; cityoflondon.gov.uk
6 Brockwell Lido, Bockwell
As if a day spent swimming in the waters of Brockwell Lido, in the middle of Brockwell Park, isn’t nice enough, the outdoor pool – hugely popular with Brixton and Herne Hill residents – has the wonderful Lido Cafe, which is one of our favourite places for breakfast, and lunch and dinner for that matter. A coffee on the café’s suntrap terrace will make you feel like you’re in the more tropical climes of the southern hemisphere, rather than south London.
Brockwell Lido, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA; 020 7274 3088; fusion-lifestyle.com
7 Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting
Rainbow-coloured vintage changing pods and lush greenery encircle Tooting Bec Lido, giving it a distinctly un-urban look. The pool has been around since it was a local’s bathing lake in 1906 and now. at just over 90m, is London’s largest freshwater outdoor pool. Tooting Bec Lido’s outdoor pool usually opens for summer around 1 May.
Tooting Bec Road, Tooting, London, SW16 1RU; 020 8871 7198; placesforpeopleleisure.org
8 The Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park
Hyde Park’s natural pools are open at the weekend from May and all week from June to September. As well as the hardened triathlon trainers in their wetsuits, you’ll find happy families paddling in the water and sitting on the waterside terrace of the Lido Cafe Bar, which has plenty of space for alfresco dining. Tickets to swim in the Serpentine cost £3.60 for children and £4.60 for adults.
The Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH; royalparks.org.uk